Manning Park is worth it in every season. In summer, the wildflowers along Heather Trail are incredible, and the camping at Nicomen Lake is always lovely. In fall, the larch meadows near Frosty Mountain turn a gorgeous gold and the ridge at the end of the hike becomes an adventure with the winds and fog. In winter, it can be especially magical. I used to spend weekends there with my family cross-country skiing, but it’s even great as a winter stopover on the way to or fro, the Okanagan. Say, with a rambunctious puppy in tow.
There are a variety of winter snowshoe trails at Manning, from the flat and short (Similkameen, Cambie Creek) to the upright and long (Poland Lake, Windy Joe) but since we wanted to spend about an hour in the snow we chose the Lightning Lake loop.
We’ve done the hike in summer (about a 9 km loop) and most people there seemed committed to following the trail, but one of the best things about snowshoeing is going off the path… so we cut across, ran down, played in and hiked up and down the snow covering the breadth of the lake. Obviously not advisable in spring or fall, but in the dead of winter (and when the temperature is a balmy -12 degrees) we felt comfortable with the stability of the ice.
Whether you follow the trail or run across the lake, this snowshoe is a lovely way to break up a winter road trip – or a worthwhile destination as part of a longer Manning Park trip.